Home El Golfo Earthquakes

The 2010 Easter Sunday Quake

Yes, we felt the Easter Sunday earthquake: 7.2 in Guadeloupe Victoria ("43").   There have been many more smaller earthquakes since Easter.  Some of the local towns are known by their location along a more or less straight line from Mexicali to El Golfo  39, 43, 57.

Two or three years ago I started watching the www.earthquake.gov  web site for quakes in this area.  There seemed to be an irregular but consistent number of small quakes west of the Salton Sea.  As I continued to watch this map, the small quakes followed south into Mexico to the west of 43.

The density of quakes seemed to increase as well as their maximum size.    The Easter Earthquake was a serious quake.  In 43 and 57 walls came down and there were cracks in the ground and highways.  In El Golfo we just got a free roller coaster ride.

Since Easter the Earthquake.Gov map looks more like confetti than a map.  Red (hour), blue (way), and yellow (week) squares are so dense that you cannot tell one from the other.  And the line is moving south.

The Line is the Infamous San Andreas Fault

And it passes right under El Golfo.  It is not a straight line as it has zig-zags.  If the current trend continues, we can expect to see an increasing number of temblors in El Golfo.  And probably of increasing magnitude

Worst Case?

Well, that is the question isn't it?  The absolute worst case is the earth opens up and El Golfo disappears.  Not very likely. 


Not likely at all -- unless there is a serious earthquake south of us and in the Sea of Cortez.  Maybe -- but I do not think in my lifetime.

Horizontal Plate Shift -- Cracks in the Earth? 

Any quake like that in 43 will create cracks in the earth.  For them it was just holes to be filled and highways to be repaired and new walls to be built.  That is enough.  But if cracks appear in El Golfo, we shall not need to fill them.  The Sea of Cortez will do that for us.  We just will not like the result any better than the cracks.  It does not take a vivid imagination to understand what happens next.  It depends upon the depth, size and number of cracks.

Vertical Plate Shift -- This could be serious

If the shift is downward, this would cause the Sea of Cortez to flow into the lower area.  Upward?  We get a better view of the sea.  But the downward shift could flood a large area.  My home is about 30 meters above the sea -- maybe less.  A downward shift of half that would not be a disaster other than the RV might tip over during the quake.

North to the Salton Sea

This is interesting geography.  As you go north you actually go to a lower elevation.  By the time you get to the US border, you are about 30 meters below sea level.  A really serious quake could cause the Sea of Cortez to flow north to fill any area below its current level.  The Sea of Cortez has a more or less infinite source of water: the entire Pacific Ocean.  The area below sea level is bounded by hills or the water would already be there.  Vertical or horizontal movement of this barrier hills could cause new beachfront property.  This is really worst case.

Where To Go?

If there is a really serious quake here and you want to get away, take the highway south to Puerto Peñasco and then east to Sonoyta.  The problem is that you may need a 4x4 truck or Jeep to cross the cracks that will occur if the quake is so bad that you need to leave.

How to Prepare?

For any quake three things go fast: power, water, and phone service -- including cell phone.   Some Pemex stations have their own power but they have no way to get more gas: fill up before the quake.

This is a partial list.  Find a better list online.  Do not delay.

During the Quake

After the Quake

Written:  2010          Updated: April 30, 2010           Back To Top